What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning

March 2nd, 2022 by

What to Expect During a Dental Cleaning

Clean and healthy teeth are one of the most important factors of human health. Everyone probably remembers the standard recommendation to visit the dentist at least twice a year. Dental check-ups and tooth cleaning are crucial for oral hygiene. Unfortunately, you can’t remove all dirt with a toothbrush, but your teeth can shine again with a dental cleaning.

If you wonder what to expect during a typical dental cleaning, we will help you find out. This article will bring you closer to what a tooth cleaning looks like, their procedures, and whether this treatment hurts.

The Teeth Cleaning Procedure

The teeth cleaning procedure aims to preserve healthy teeth without bacteria, caries, and food debris. This treatment usually lasts from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. The cleaning process may depend on the dentist, dental office, application technology, and similar factors. 

Most dentists follow a particular procedure for typical dental cleaning consisting of: 

  • Physical examination
  • Scaling
  • Polishing with gritty toothpaste
  • Flossing at a dental cleaning
  • Rinse
  • Fluoride treatment

Before dental cleaning, there is no specific procedure you should do, but every dentist appreciates it if you brush your teeth before visiting. If you are a person who brushes your teeth regularly, visits the dentist, and floss your teeth, you have no reason to worry. If you have a problem with your teeth, you should mention it to the dentist before starting the treatment.

Physical Examination

The first step for all dentists and dental hygienists is to examine your teeth and oral cavity. They will ask you simple questions about your teeth cleaning routine. After this, with the help of a small mirror. 

Dentists examine each side of your teeth in detail and establish an estimate of the current situation of your teeth. Dentists notice all traces of caries, inflamed gums (gingivitis), and dark spots (potential cavities). In the case of significant problems, they decide on the possibility of treatment.


The next step in a typical dental cleaning is scaling. A scalar is usually a small metal hook that dentists use to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth. 

This procedure is based on scraping. As scary as it may seem, this procedure is painless, and the duration of this procedure lasts as long as the accumulation of plaque on your teeth. More recently, there are also ultrasonic scalers that work on the principle of gentle vibrations.

Polishing With Gritty Toothpaste

In the next step, dentists use gritty toothpaste with an electric toothbrush. This method successfully removes tartar from your teeth and is also completely painless. This is recommended only once to twice a year. If we used it more often or daily, it would damage our tooth enamel.

Flossing at a Dental Cleaning

No matter how often you use dental floss, flossing at home cannot compare to a dentist’s treatment. Experts will thoroughly clean your teeth in critical areas during this step. 

Unlike when you do it yourself, dentists can use their knowledge to approach plaque more professionally. Also, the third-party approach itself makes it easier to spot problems.


After finishing the flossing process, you will probably feel food debris and tartar in your mouth. The next step is to rinse your mouth, usually with liquid fluoride or just clean water. Often this procedure needs to be repeated several times to clean the oral cavity of all debris.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride treatment is not mandatory and is considered an extra. Most toothpaste contains fluoride, but the type used during professional dental treatment is more effective. 

This treatment consists of applying a gel of different parts to the teeth. The gel is held on the teeth for about one minute, after which the teeth are thoroughly cleaned. Fluoride treatment serves as a final layer and has a role in strengthening tooth enamel and fighting caries.

Does a Dental Cleaning Hurt?

For most patients, dental cleaning is a painless process. Strange sounds, scratching, and stinging occur only if you are doing it for the first time. 

Problems that lead to pain during the procedure can occur due to:

  • Rare dental check-up
  • Dental problems
  • Caries
  • Bacterial inflammation
  • Inflamed gums

Dentists notice that the process is painful for patients. They change some methods or take longer breaks between treatments. More frequent visits to the dentist and continual dental cleaning will make you enjoy this procedure completely. 

In the end, you will have a beautiful and white smile that everyone around you will notice. Don’t forget to trust your dentist at North York Smile Centre, since they are professionals.


The first thing we all see on a person is their smile. A timely visit to the dentist and the dental cleaning process will extend the longevity of our teeth and restore the shine to our smile.

We hope this article helped you with your questions on what to expect during a typical dental cleaning. Remember, only a regular dental check-up is the key to healthy teeth.